With warm weather continuing here in Ontario, October is the month to put away the patio furniture, clean off the decks, and prepare for Winter. Here’s a list to keep you on track and not up at night worrying about what you forgot to do.
Outside the Home
Prep the deck - Power wash and seal the deck, you’ll be glad you won’t have to do it in the Spring.
Cover up & drain - Put a protective cover over air conditioners, drain and store outdoor hoses. Close the valve to outdoor hose connections, and drain the faucet (unless it is frost proof).
Winterize landscaping - Plant fall perennials (I’m partial to peonies!) and protect young trees or bushes for winter by wrapping in burlap.
Winter welcome - Sweep the dirt on your front step, shake out the mat, and replace those flower urns with branches, ornamental grass, and even vegetables. - kale is fantastic at the front door.
Lawn 101 - Fall is the best time to aerate your lawn, and to fill those bare spots with seed.
Put it away - Store outdoor furniture, ensure pillows and seat cushions are stored either indoors or in sealed containers.
Cover firewood - Move firewood to a covered area on your property. Always keep firewood in the region where you purchased it, so don’t bring firewood from the cottage to your home in the suburbs. Even if you don’t see any bugs, there can still be insect eggs or microscopic fungus spores which can ruin an entire ecosystem if they’re moved.
Inside the Home
Energy audit - There are still numerous incentive programs available from the Ontario Ministry of Energy that range from winter-proofing to energy conservation. Check the Homeowner list here
Chimney care - Get your chimney cleaned before that first fall fire, you never know what could be hiding in there.
Prep the furnace - Book your annual maintenance of the furnace and HVAC. Replace or clean the air filters.
Clean the garage - Switch bicycles for skis. Purge what you don’t need for winter, prep for ski storage and other winter pursuits. You’ll want room to store the car inside! A good sweep will clear the cobwebs and whatever else has been hiding in there all summer.
Coat check - Organize your mud room or main entry. Children need a home for their backpacks and you know it will be sooner than later that the inevitable wool coats & wet boots will make an appearance. Baskets are great organizers for mittens, hats and scarves.
Create a homework spot - It’s that back-to-school time of year. Whether you have children or not, every home needs a spot for calendars, mail and online surfing. Ensure you have a comfortable chair, task lighting and all the supplies you (or the kids) need: pens, pencils, ruler, calculator, erasers, etc).
Sort the pantry - Just like regular cleaning out of the fridge, the pantry needs attention too. Toss expired foods, wipe out every shelf and re-organize. With any luck, you'll need some room to store fall canning gifts from your neighbour.
Check lighting - With daylight quickly diminishing, give your rooms a once over. Do you need an accent light? Another reading lamp? Candles are a welcoming addition to any room. Be safe - never leave a lit candle in an empty room. And always keep children and pets away from an open flame.
Clean out the medicine cabinet - Whether you prefer homeopathic or traditional, you know you're going to need the oil of oregano and the decongestant at some point. Check the expiry dates on everything. Do not flush medicines down the toilet or sink. In Canada on any day of the year, you can bring unused and expired prescription drugs, over the counter medications and natural health products to your local pharmacy for proper disposal.
Bedding - Time to bring out those thick quilts and duvets. Inspect for rips/tears (or critter damage if at the cottage!) and send to dry-cleaner if necessary.
Fall Textiles - Speaking of cozy blankets, pull out those fluffy accent pillows, and faux fur throws.
Now you're ready to cozy up with a cup of coffee, sit outside and enjoy the crisp fall air and beautiful trees knowing you're ready for Fall.
Let us know if we forgot anything. What’s your best tip?